D. E. Shaw Research Reviews | Glassdoor

D. E. Shaw Research Reviews

Updated March 18, 2018
13 reviews

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3.3
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D. E. Shaw Research Chief Scientist David E. Shaw
David E. Shaw
4 Ratings

13 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (8)

    "Living the dream"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at D. E. Shaw Research full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    +Meaningful, impressive company mission. People in different areas of the group are all excited to work toward a common goal. You feel like you're doing something worthwhile with your life by working here.
    +Brilliant co-workers with diverse backgrounds. People here could certainly have healthy egos, but instead they are, for the most part, quite humble.
    +Opportunities to learn are endless. Even casual hallway conversations are super interesting to listen in on.
    +Fascinating talks given regularly by employees and outside speakers.
    +Your ideas are listened to and valued, even if the company decides to go in a different direction.
    +Management seems thoughtful, and actually cares about the well-being and happiness of employees.
    +Great culture and very reasonable work/life balance.
    +Awesome perks and benefits, new surprises all the time!
    +Pay is really high; of course Manhattan and surrounding areas are very expensive, but the high pay here makes it a non-issue.

    Cons

    I don't have a lot of complaints personally. Some people might not like the lack of hand-holding that comes along with having a group of such driven, accomplished, capable people working at the company. Don't work here if you want to be micro-managed or blindly follow orders without question.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Great place to do science so long as you don't believe in the mission"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Scientific Associate in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Scientific Associate in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at D. E. Shaw Research full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    In the time I spent at DESRES, I had a chance to work with a truly brilliant set of scientists. Regardless of your background, you will learn a lot if you work here. I completely agree with another reviewer about the fascinating talks and opportunities to learn.

    Cons

    The managers are as stubborn as (some of the) scientists are brilliant. The merit of an idea is worth nothing compared to the standing of the person saying it, so the managers fail to take criticisms of some of the company's main research efforts seriously. This leads DESRES to waste resources on projects that seem unlikely to lead anywhere.

    It is hard to believe that such a risk-averse strategy will accomplish its goal of revolutionizing drug discovery. Granted, the scientific output is impressive and important, but as the company pivots its focus toward drug discovery and away from basic science, its relevance dwindles.

    Overall, I recommend working here as long as one is willing to work on a dead-end project in exchange for a large salary and a chance to learn some science on the side. Many would see this as a very fair trade-off, but I decided to take my chances elsewhere.

    Advice to Management

    If what you want is to make money, just keep doing what you're doing as it seems to keep David happy. If you want to make a difference, perhaps think seriously about the chances that the status quo will revolutionize drug discovery.

  3. "Great people"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    The people are some of the most talented that you will meet, and it is an inspirational environment to be in.

    Cons

    There are very few downsides, and it was a very positive experience on the whole. The company's working on new technology so there's uncertainty as to how quickly the platform can be built.


  4. Helpful (2)

    "Research Scientist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Scientist in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Research Scientist in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at D. E. Shaw Research full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Extraordinary opportunities for break-through research

    Cons

    Difficult to blend in; growth curve can vary wildly.


  5. Helpful (17)

    "Really inspiring team working on important problems"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at D. E. Shaw Research full-time

    Pros

    Even at a major university you won't find the level of intelligence and talent you'll find here, and certainly not at your average company. (Google, maybe.) Everyone's just really, really smart, you'll find experts in a wide range of fields (engineering, scientific and otherwise), and pretty much everyone I've met is helpful and willing to talk to you. No, there isn't much structure, but isn't that a good thing? You just have to take initiative to figure out what's needed and how you can contribute. I've seen people given pretty big new responsibilities just because they showed an interest and that they could handle it. Not saying it always works out, but how many places is something like that even a possibility? Plus, the project's an important one: designing new drugs and improving how drugs are designed. And they pay very well. I really don't get what other reviewers are grousing about. How many jobs give you great pay, super-smart co-workers, a good mission, and minimal Dilbert-like corporate BS to ruin your day?

    Cons

    No job is perfect, and if you want something to be unhappy about, you'll find something. Yes, some of the managers are probably better engineers or chemists than they are managers, so the management part of their job can get neglected. But I'd rather pay that price than work under a bunch of people who are professional middle-managers but lousy engineers or mediocre scientists or just not very intelligent.

    Advice to Management

    It's an unusual environment, and judging by some of the reviews on here not everyone is prepared to get the most out of it. Maybe take more pains during the hiring process to explain what it's like, so people who aren't going to like it have a chance to opt out, rather than coming and being unhappy? Clearly, for the right people it works out great (it can't be an accident that there are so many people who've been here 5-10 years).


  6. Helpful (6)

    "Good mission, clueless management saved by good engineers"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at D. E. Shaw Research full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The mission is excellent. Advance the state of the art in molecular dynamics to shorten the path to drug discovery.

    Cons

    Many good engineers work here. Management is very poor, but their lack of competence is hidden by the productivity and self-organizing abilities of their engineers. David Shaw gets his results, but it's not through the capabilities of the management.

    Advice to Management

    Institute 360 reviews so that managers can be reviewed by their peers and their reports. In a company where decisions are data driven and results are expected, the only people not subject to data and review are the managers. Employees won't say it openly, but the thought is prevalent.


  7. Helpful (12)

    "On Balance, an Unpleasant Experience (Your Mileage May Vary)"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at D. E. Shaw Research full-time

    Pros

    A chance to work on a potentially world-changing scientific project. Well-funded by David Shaw's fortune. Reasonable work hours. Almost all of the non-management employees are bright and a pleasure to work with. Attractive private or semi-private offices. Compensation is good by NYC standards. David Shaw himself is a brilliant, sincere, and inspiring leader. If you land in the right niche, this might be a great job.

    Cons

    There appears to be no functioning mechanism to remove toxic managers, and they are poisoning the organization. Turnover is high--do your homework. Because funding is essentially infinite, there is no real existential drive to avoid mistakes. There is a culture of backbiting. Almost every day you will hear someone trash another's work, sometimes with glee. Though some of the technology is cutting edge, other parts of it are maddeningly archaic. Advice: As a candidate, you should talk to former employees and have a Plan B. If DESRES doesn't work out, ensure you know what you will do, from a career and financial perspective.

    Advice to Management

    The turnover rate is the canary in the coal mine. All DESRES issues come down to poor or toxic management. Advice would be for Dr. Shaw to hire a trusted management consultant and clean house. Some of the managers are good, but if in doubt better to fire them all than keep a bad apple.

  8. Helpful (5)

    "A good place to work, but with limited career upside potential."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at D. E. Shaw Research full-time

    Pros

    - Intellectually stimulating work
    - Intelligent team members
    - Opportunities to take on a significant amount of responsibility
    - Benefits: great financial compensation for the industry, flexible hours

    Cons

    - Little emphasis on professional development
    - Few opportunities for advancement due to low growth and low turnover
    - Communication between upper management and the rest of the company leaves something to be desired
    - Long product cycle limits opportunities to learn new things
    - Slow rate of hiring leaves some team members overworked

    Advice to Management

    Pay more attention to employees' professional development.


  9. Helpful (2)

    "Intellectually rewarding experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Research Scientist in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Research Scientist in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at D. E. Shaw Research full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Work with the brightest minds in the world on a fascinating computational biochemistry project. Small team so each person has a lot of responsibility. Very generous with compensation. The people are very generous in sharing their knowledge with you.

    Cons

    These are long projects compared to the rest of the industry. You must remain committed for many years to get through one.

    Advice to Management

    Be a little bit more open on future plans.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "One can fulfill 80% of one's potential, without stress"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Scientist in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Research Scientist in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at D. E. Shaw Research full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Smart and decent people to work with, flat organizational structure insures minimal politics or backstabbing, salary way above market norm, and very good resources to support creative work.

    Cons

    No promotions in title (salaries do increase based on performance) and no clear career path.

    Advice to Management

    Encourage people to take risks and give each individual more ownership of their work. Help each employee to develop professionally and gain recognition.


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